Whether you’re a world-renowned chef or an amateur home cook, there’s surely a cookbook out there for you. Even before I began cooking, I had a collection of cookbooks just because of how thrilling it was to study the photos of food and learn about the history and background of so many dishes. Amongst thousands of cookbooks, you can learn anything from French, Iranian, farm-to-table, or comfort food cooking. My top picks outlined below are based on several different factors including overall visuals, ease of use, and background on where the recipes are coming from.
This is my all-time favorite cookbook. The two writers, Ottolenghi and Tamimi are from the Middle East and capture the local flavors and energy of the culture so well it’s mesmerizing. Between the stunning photographs of Israeli markets and deliciously creamy dips, your mouth will be watering with every page turned. My favorite recipes include Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar, Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon, and of course a no-fail Basic Hummus.
While “skinny” may not be my favorite word or way to describe food or bodies, I still found this cookbook to be a great and extremely practical one. Gina Homolka focuses on easy and healthy recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Some of the standout recipes include Heavenly Banana-Nut Oat Muffins, Greek Salad Pita Pizzas, and Wild Salmon Salad with Balsamic-Caper Vinaigrette.
Written by the same author as Jerusalem, Ottolenghi features entirely different recipes from his other books. Plenty features 120 vegetarian recipes with dynamic combinations you may not normally consider. While some of the recipes are slightly more advanced to make, I wouldn’t skip out on this one. The photos are stunning and the descriptions offer guidance on how to source or substitute some ingredients to make the recipe easier. Stand out recipes include Lemon and Goat Cheese Ravioli, Eggplant with Buttermilk Sauce, and Zucchini and Hazelnut Salad.
4. The Pollan Family Table
If there is a more real, authentic, and down to earth book than this one, I must not be as keen on cookbooks as I thought! Best-selling author, Michael Pollan, writes the foreword for this book featuring his own family’s recipes. The book includes the Pollans’ refreshing sit-down-and-eat-together food philosophy with over 100 meals including options for Meatless Monday. The beginning of the book outlines pantry must-haves and words on preparing seasonal meals with clean ingredients. Some of my favorite recipes from this book include Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Chips, Grand Marnier Citrus Roasted Chicken, and Key Lime Pie with Walnut Oatmeal Crust.
Each of these cookbooks is so different from one another, yet they share some of the top qualities you will ever need as part of a recipe book. Having tried and tested hundreds of recipes from the books above (and a multitude of others!), I can tell you that they work and the meals come out just as amazing as the photos! I can’t recommend these reads enough and hope you enjoy them just as much as I did.